Light Reading

Apple Eyes VoLTE as 4G Voice Gets Real

Dan Jones
8/20/2014
50%
50%

Apple appears to be gearing up for high-definition voice-over-LTE (HD VoLTE) support in future mobile products

The company is currently advertising for a cellular systems protocol engineer, calling for experience with "VoLTE" and "IMS." Other positions are calling for experience with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) protocol.

VoLTE uses SIP to initiate the 4G calls, which are transmitted in data packets, with the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) in the core network controlling the call session. There's a useful primer on how this all works here.

Apple is also looking for a senior baseband engineer to work on "cutting-edge" audio for its devices, which will include the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) speech compression codec, which is part of the VoLTE specification. The engineer will help to "implement, port, and deploy AMR-WB, AMR-NB, CELP, EVRC-B, EVRC, EVS Vocoders, and Jitter Buffers on Mobile devices," according to the ad.


Keep up with all the VoLTE news on our dedicated channel here on Light Reading.


The VoLTE timing could make sense for the iPhone 6, which is expected to be unveiled in September, since Apple's largest US carrier partners are launching limited service now or are expected to go live with VoLTE on their networks later this year.

"We will be launching VoLTE very soon here toward the tail end of this year," Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CFO Fran Shammo said earlier in August. (See Verizon VoLTE Testing Spotted.)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has VoLTE up in parts of four states in the US. (See T-Mobile Beats AT&T, Verizon to VoLTE.)

Of the four largest US carriers, only T-Mobile US Inc. has HD VoLTE available across its network. (See T-Mobile Expands VoLTE, Gets Going with 700MHz 4G.)

So far, 66 service providers spanning 35 countries have invested in VoLTE studies, trials or deployments, with 10 operators in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the US having actually launched an HD VoLTE service. (See VoLTE Gains Velocity: GSA.)

VoLTE specialists Mavenir Systems Inc. recently stated that there are 92 VoLTE-capable devices on the market now, some of which will require a software upgrade to use the technology. "Apple has rumored that iPhone 6 and iOS 8 might both support VoLTE," said Mavenir CEO Pardeep Kohli on an earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "This will be the first Apple phone to support VoLTE, and its introduction this fall is expected to further the progress of VoLTE."

Apple typically doesn't reveal new features of its devices ahead of launch.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/3/2014 | 6:19:24 PM
Does 4 people really count as a line?
Supposedly people are starting to line up at the Apple store ahead of the expected iPhone 6 launch:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/09/03/line-forms-at-5th-ave-apple-store-6-days-ahead-of-expected-iphone-announcement
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/21/2014 | 6:38:28 PM
Re: LTE-Advanced & Apple
We should -- eventually -- be back to 90s landline standards and perhaps better with HD-LTE on AMR-WB! It's available on some devices on T-Mobile-to-T-Mobile calls now and what I've heard of the quality is really good.

Going to be interesting to see how it works between carrier networks though -- eventually!
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 4:39:22 PM
Re: LTE-Advanced & Apple
Voice quality on mobile phone calls are in need of an upgrade. I believe that carriers have been laser-focused on keeping up with data demand, to the comic detriment of voice quality.

It's good to see that this is now going to change. 
billsblots
50%
50%
billsblots,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/21/2014 | 4:12:18 PM
Re: LTE-Advanced & Apple
When I clicked "comment" I didn't see a box to type in, so I'll use reply.

Here in Richmond, VA, downtown, the Verizon LTE throughput is horribly bad, normally less than 1 MBps and can never stream any video, and frequently even an audio stream is tough to get started.  As a daily ritual I disable "LTE" on my Verizon devices when I come to work so at least they can chug along a little better in 3G.  Great advertising slogan, "Verizon Wireless, where our 3G is better than our 4G".

I must say outside of the downtown area the VZW LTE is quite a bit better, but nowhere what I've seen in Orange County, CA, and other major metro areas.

So I can imagine trying to pour voice over the same bandwidths and network that is already choked so badly in this area.  Cell phone audio quality is typically bad compared to the very high product we had achieved on land line phones by the 90s, where there was rarely even any pinging, echo, or noticeable delay in trans-Atlantic calls.  But that is the price we pay for mobility and convenience.  But think of this, there are teenagers running around who have never used a landline phone because it was discontinued at home in 2000 and think that all telephone voice service has always been crappy!
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/21/2014 | 9:53:25 AM
Re: LTE-Advanced & Apple
You mean LTE-A or VoLTE is for 2015+? Or both?
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 8:41:32 AM
Re: LTE-Advanced & Apple
 

"This is most likley for the 2015+"

Agreed. Many Euro operators plan to have launched VoLTE by next summer so that *if* the 2015 iPhone suports it, they'll be ready. That's the basic timeline that nearly everyone is working on. This driving a lot of activity because of the fear you'll get left behind and out-marketed by competitors.

The voice-over-WiFi capability supposedly coming in this year's iPhone is viewed as a pre-cursor to VoLTE.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2014 | 5:41:37 PM
LTE-Advanced & Apple
Interestingly I couldn't find any mention of LTE-Advanced in the job ads. Not even hidden as the E-UTRA air inteference.

 

 
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Then pick up your axe, put on your spandex trousers and get yourself down to Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE). Kerrang!!!
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ciena CEO: The Web-Scale Revolution

4|28|15   |   10:32   |   (3) comments


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A study run by Insights in Marketing and commissioned by Meredith shows the devices, channels and ways in which women are consuming content.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Nokia Quashes Handsets Rumor
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 4/28/2015
Verizon Builds Key Vendors Into SDN Strategy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2015
Why Is Verizon Fighting With Programmers?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 4/28/2015
Astellia Highlights Customer Care Disconnect
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/29/2015
T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Cats with Phones